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Victim of illegal detention awarded nearly PLN 145,000 in compensation for financial and moral loss

Bogusław Pyrak has been illegitimately detained on remand for more than 12 months. Last week, the Regional Court in Płock awarded him nearly PLN 145,000 in compensation for the financial and moral losses the man suffered due to his illegal detention.

The case of Mr Pyrak has been dragging for more than 20 years. In the 1990s, he was accused of committing a number of white collar crimes related to his management of an agricultural cooperative; the charges included the use of falsified documents, theft and fraud, among other things. According to courts ordering his pre-trial detention, Bogusław Pyrak obstructed the course of justice by presenting doctor’s certificates to prove that he was suffering from a medical condition. “In the criminal proceedings, the HFHR presented an amicus curiae brief in which we argued that the position taken by the courts was unfair for the defendant. We also submitted that the evidence showed no basis for pre-trial detention”, says Adam Bodnar, HFHR Deputy President.

In August 2012, the criminal case against Mr Pyrak ended with an acquittal decision issued by the Regional Court in Płock. Already during the trial the courts have twice requested prosecutors to amend the indictment, pointing to evidentiary gaps in the prosecution’s case.

In 2008, when the domestic case was still pending, the European Court of Human Rights delivered the judgment in Bogusław Pyrak’s case. In its judgment, the Strasbourg Court found a number of violations of Convention standards occurring in connection with the pre-trial detention of Mr Pyrak. The ECtHR noted that the Polish court had failed to consider other preventive measures, for instance it dismissed a motion for accepting the personal surety given by Dr Marek Edelman and Senator Wacław Strażewicz. “The Strasbourg Court also found that Poland had violated the Convention by failing to examine Bogusław Pyrak’s interlocutory appeal against the extension of the period of his pre-trial detention”, Dr Bodnar adds.

“Bogusław Pyrak has sought compensation for moral injuries which consisted primarily in a violation of his personal dignity and deterioration of his health”, says Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz, an advocate with Wardyński i Wspólnicy and pro-bono counsel for Mr Pyrak. “He also claimed damages on account of financial loss, including lost profits – income from his farm – and the costs of medical treatment and medicines, incurred as a consequence of the deterioration of his health, which happened during his detention, which lasted for more than a year”, adds Ms Rudzińska-Bluszcz.

The Regional Court in Płock awarded Mr Pyrak an amount of nearly PLN 145,000. “No money can make good for the harm he has suffered. This case should never have happened, plain and simple”, says Dr Bodnar.

The court decision is not yet final. The counsel for Mr Pyrak, Ms. Rudzińska-Bluszcz said that since not all of her client’s claims have been awarded, she will consider an appeal after reading the written justification of the Court’s judgment.

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